Despite slips, trips, and falls being similar actions, they are different. A slip is what happens when there is a loss of friction between your shoe and the walking surface. A trip occurs when your foot hits an object, which causes you to stumble or to lose your balance. And a fall is defined as the result of a slip or trip.
The most common cause to a slip is a liquid spill. In a medical facility that would be things such as bodily fluids or cleaning substance spills.
There are certain areas within a medical facility where slip hazards are more commonly present than in other areas. These areas are called high-risk areas. A couple of examples of high-risk areas would be:
- Building entrances
- Food preparation areas
Slips happen every day, despite this, they are preventable. Floormats are the biggest and most commonly used preventative measures when it comes to slips in a healthcare environment. They are crucial in providing a safe walking surface for caregivers, especially in high-risk areas. Our Maritime Walking & Working Surfaces course goes into more detail about floormats how to properly use them. The information this course encompasses also applies to the general use of floormats in any industry.
The most common cause of a trip is objects that impede on the walking surface like monitor cords or EKG wires. Like slips, trips also happen every day. You can find tripping hazards in almost any area within a medical facility. A couple tripping hazards would be:
- Obstructed walking surfaces that would include bubbles tile or buckled carpet
- Clutter on the floor
- Messy workplace
The most efficient and common way to eliminate tripping hazards in the workplace is a housekeeping policy. This would help in preventing trips by keeping areas clean, organized, and cleared of any hazard on the walking surface.
According to a national law firm, Taylor & Scott, slips, trips, and falls are also the second leading cause of workplace injuries and account for over 20% of all injuries. The most common injuries that are caused by a slip, trip, or fall would be:
The Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality also states that between 700,000 to 1,000,000 healthcare employees slip and fall in their place of work each year. These numbers are a problem, one that we can fix. To learn more about slips, trips, and falls within a medical setting, keep your eye open! And visit Hard Hat Training Series for more courses and safety information.